To say that the year 2020 hasn’t gone off to a good start would be an understatement.
We’re only in the first half of the year but we’ve already witnessed many catastrophic events, including earthquakes, wildfires, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and locust infestations. The most recent (and probably the most devastating) one is the COVID-19 pandemic – an invisible yet powerful enemy that made the globe fall on its knees.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, countries all over the world were placed on lockdowns. This forces businesses to shut down their operations. While bigger ventures have a better chance of surviving, smaller businesses (that tend to have only a few months of cash flow) are more likely to crumble down. What’s worse is some business insurance policies do not cover disruptions and profit losses caused by the coronavirus.
If you’re a small business owner, here are 9 things you can do to survive this pandemic.
1. Take care of yourself, and your employees
First things first: focus on your physical and emotional wellness. Paying attention to your health will help you keep calm and have a healthy and positive mindset, which in turn will allow you to come up with innovative ideas to move forward. Ensure your employees are doing the same.
2. Establish a remote work option
Having a work from home setup helps protect your employees while keeping your business running. Utilize free online communication platforms so that your team can stay in touch. You may even implement policies regarding your work from home setup to keep your employees working diligently while in self-isolation.
3. Seek help from the government and financial institutions
Governments all over the world are already putting initiatives to support small business owners and their employees. They are providing packages to help stave off economic collapse in the country. Stay updated with how the government, banks, and business insurance companies, can assist in alleviating the impact of this pandemic.
4. Make a three-month financial plan
Have a three-month financial plan in place for key expenses like employee salaries, office rent, and utility bills. This may include:
- Speaking to those you need to pay in the next three months, like landlords and suppliers, and discuss flexible payment options
- Speaking to people you may be supporting, and control personal spending.
- Finding ways to cut costs, especially on things that can be put on hold.
- Using all of your available resources, like personal vehicles, to your business’ advantage.
- Having a contingency plan in place in case you become short-staffed.
5. Shift your sales strategy online
Several businesses are moving to an online environment. Does your business have products or services that can be digitized? Think about offering them online. You can also use technology to your advantage by offering new ways to connect with your customers.
6. Strengthen your delivery services
Just because your physical store is closed doesn’t mean you have no choice but to stop operations. If your customers can’t go out of their homes to go to you, then why don’t you go to them personally?
This is the best time to improve your delivery services, train your riders, and announce on social media that you can have your products delivered.
7. Analyze your products
Assess all the products and services that your business provides. Rank them in order of profitability, and eliminate the least profitable from your portfolio.
You can also think of ways to make your products more saleable during these times of crisis. For instance, several fast-food joints have begun selling raw, ready-to-cook versions of their cooked meals (marinated chicken and frozen meat products) to cater to their market, who are looking for food they can store for extended periods.
8. Upskill your staff
Do your best to keep your staff, who solely rely on you. Find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck. You may train your existing staff on additional skills through online courses, and ask them to support your strategies. You may even give them different roles, just to make them productive.
9. Ask your insurance provider
Unfortunately, there is NO pandemic provision or exception in any business insurance coverage. Business Interruption Insurance, for instance, provides coverage for interruptions due to direct physical property loss (fires, theft, storms, etc), but not for a global health emergency that results in economic catastrophe.
However, it never hurts to ask your business insurance broker or provider about the unexpected major events your existing policy may cover as well as other measures they’re taking to provide relief for hard-hit businesses.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the daytime writers for Insurance Advisernet, one of the largest and most reliable general insurance businesses in Australia, providing high-quality risk management advice for business owners. She enjoys writing practical tips and tricks, making complex finance and business topics easier to digest.73